“My Sweet Jesus,” another life-sized chocolate sculpture of a naked crucified Jesus by artist Cosimo Cavallaro, will be displayed in a New York gallery on West 22nd Street from October 27 through November 24. Unlike last spring, when we launched a boycott against Manhattan’s posh Roger Smith Hotel (the boycott was dropped when the hotel cancelled the exhibition of an identical Cavallaro statue, “My Sweet Lord”), the Catholic League will not protest this showing.
When the Roger Smith Hotel originally planned to host “My Sweet Lord,” the work was set to be unveiled on April 1, Palm Sunday, and run through Easter Sunday. In addition, the midtown hotel’s gallery is located on street level, easily visible through windows to the public. Any child strolling with his parents through the popular area could have been subjected to the piece. And comments by the artist certainly didn’t help matters—he previously invited the public to come inside and take a bite of Jesus.
Since “My Sweet Jesus” isn’t going to be displayed on the ground floor of an established hotel in midtown, and since Halloween is more appropriate for Cavallaro’s crafts than Easter, our central objections are not applicable this time around. The Catholic League doesn’t approve of the piece, but this upcoming display won’t be as public, nor will it be an ostentatious assault on Christian sensibilities during Holy Week.